UK POET, MOVIE STAR, ROCK STAR, COMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL COMMENTATOR, DOCTOR OF ARTS, LEGEND
"If I'm talking to someone and go, 'Do you know John Cooper Clarke?' and they say, 'Oh yeah, he's a genius', I'm then, 'Good, you've saved me a lot of time'." --STEVE COOGAN
Britain’s best loved and most important performance poet, JOHN COOPER CLARKE, is as vital now as he was in the '70s when his biting satirical political verse, delivered in a unique rapid-fire performance style, resonated with the punk movement. He supported and toured with all the seminal artists (Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello, Joy Division, New Order etc) but drew large crowds in his own right. He found himself as one of the leading voices of punk and youth culture and became known
as the “Punk Poet” or “The Bard of Salford”. He performed worldwide in front of thousands transfixed to
his distinctive, and now iconic, visual appearance (tall and pencil-thin with a mess of black hair, black sunglasses, drainpipe trousers and Cuban-heeled boots) and his influential catalogue.
In 1978, John signed a major album deal with CBS. His works with the Invisible Girls (produced by Martin Hannett) were unique fusions of his poems and The Invisible Girls’ highly original music, creating records still name-checked by people as diverse as Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, Plan B, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Coogan. A massive collection of his words, Ten Years In An Open Necked Shirt, became the bestselling poetry book of the1980s, and is reprinted every few years. His recording of Evidently Chickentown was used in the penultimate closing scene of The Sopranos. John plays himself in Anton Corbijn’s Joy Division biopic, Control, has his own BBC4 documentary Evidently… John Cooper Clarke, is regularly featured on BBCTV and radio as a presenter, performer and socio-cultural commentator, and continues to write.
In July 2013, Clarke was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts in "acknowledgement of a career which has spanned five decades, bringing poetry to non-traditional audiences and influencing musicians and comedians" by the University of Salford. Upon receipt, Clarke commented: "Now I'm a doctor, finally my dream of opening a cosmetic surgery business can become a reality."